Monday, 30 December 2013

2014: The Year of Living Consciously

Murray Dobbin - Rabble.ca

Two of the big storms hitting Canada in the last year were not just terrifying and incredibly damaging -- they were a little spooky. Details here.

Please also read: "Have Our Servants Become Our Masters? Why fossil fuels are no longer our friends."

Climate Change is Always the Issue (letter)

Winnipeg Free Press
Get serious. Whenever we discuss fossil fuels, climate change is the issue. Details here.

Flooding in Manitoba - 2011
(PinP photo)

Secret Memo Casts Doubt on Claims by the Government of Canada Concerning the Closure of Government Libraries

Andrew Nikiforuk - THE TYEE
Goal stated is 'culling' research, not preserving and sharing through digitization. Full story here.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Canadian Government Slashes Funding For Water Protection

Canada.com


More than $100 million in cuts are underway at the federal department in charge of protecting Canada’s water and oceans, despite recommendations from top bureaucrats that it needs to increase spending for both environmental and economic reasons. Full story here.

Solar Activity Not a Key Cause of Climate Change, Study Shows

Science News

Climate change has not been strongly influenced by variations in heat from the sun, a new scientific study shows. Full story here.

Stop Bayer From Killing Bees!

Sum of + Us
Bayer is suing Europe to overturn the ban on bee-killing pesticides -- so we're joining the legal battle to stop them.Larry,
Bayer is suing Europe to overturn the landmark ban on bee-killing pesticides -- and we're excited to announce we're joining the legal battle to make sure Bayer fails.
Europe's bee-saving ban has only just gone into force, but Bayer is fighting in the courts to overturn it. If Bayer wins, it will be a huge setback for the bees -- and so we're asking the European Court of Justice to let us join in the case and defend the ban.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

China Rejects Over Half-a-Million Tons of US Corn After Finding an Unapproved Genetically Modified Strain

Winnipeg Free Press
BEIJING, China - China has rejected 545,000 tons of imported U.S. corn found to contain an unapproved GM strain, the country's product safety agency announced Friday. Details here.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Outsourcing is Short-Sighted

Winnipeg Free Press

My initial impression upon reading your Dec. 16 editorial Gear Canada to create new jobs was that the writer was indulging in sarcasm. Sadly, as I read on I realized that the message is that manufacturing and agricultural jobs are better off going off-shore, allowing goods to crisscross continents and oceans before landing on our plates or stores. Details here.

Legal Expert Warns Canada-EU Trade Agreement Could Damage Sovereignty


International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)


The draft agreement "will provide foreign investors into Canada with the most investor-friendly set of corporate rights ever drafted by the Canadian government into a treaty. " Full story here.
IISD legal expert, Howard Mann

Saturday, 21 December 2013

We Need a Mandatory Ban on Sub-Therapeutic Doses of Antibiotics for Livestock—in the US (and Canada! PLT)

Organic Consumers Association 

More than 36 years ago the U.S. Food & Drug Administration acknowledged there was a problem with the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. In March 2012, the courts forced the FDA's hand. Finally, last week, the  FDA announced a plan to curb the routine use of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics to treat and fatten up livestock on factory farms. But the mostly voluntary, loophole-riddled “plan” falls far short of what scientists say is needed to stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that now pose a real and widespread danger to public health. Details here. 

Related: "Food and Drug Administration in the US Moves To Phase Out Widespread Use Of Antibiotics In Meat"

Friday, 20 December 2013

Chemicals Causing Cancer and Infertility Found at Fracking Sites

Huffington Post

Hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to cancer, infertility and a slew of other health problems have been found in water samples collected at and near hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," sites in Colorado, according to a new study published in the journal Endocrinology this week. Details here.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Gateway Pipeline Recommendations Ignore Citizens - PLEASE TAKE ACTION!


Make your voice heard





David Suzuki Foundation

PipelinePhoto Marco Guada via Flickr
Many people are upset by the Joint Review Panel’s recommendation to go ahead with the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. However, don’t despair over the holidays -- this is far from over. This recommendation does not mean the pipeline will be built.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Freedom for the Arctic 30!

Greenpeace

Hi Larry,

Big news! The Arctic 30 have been granted amnesty.

Earlier today the Russian government agreed to amend an amnesty bill to include the Arctic 30, and just now the bill was officially adopted by their parliament. This means legal proceedings against them will be halted and they should be home soon.

I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief, but the Arctic 30 have said they’re not celebrating. They’ve all spent two months in jail for a crime they didn’t commit, and faced criminal charges that were absurd. As Pete Willcox, captain of the Arctic Sunrise, said: “There’s no amnesty for the Arctic.”

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Manitoba Doing Better Than Most in Conserving Woodland Caribou

Winnipeg Free Press
A study to see how well Canadian jurisdictions are responding to Ottawa's’s National Recovery Strategy for Caribou gives Manitoba a medium grade. Details here.

A Greenpeace Cartoon for the Season

What Would "Madiba" Have Done?

by Larry Powell

Prime Minister Harper's attendance at the funeral of Nelson Mandela has conjured up some fascinating scenarios for me.

While South Africa's repression of its black people will live on in infamy, Canada's treatment of our own indigenous people has hardly been exemplary, either. 

So, if Mandela, who so famously led his people out of bondage, were Prime Minister of Canada, what would he do here? 

Would he be; 
  • slashing grants to native organizations? 
  • refusing to hold a public inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women? 
  • passing legislation (using closure) which leaves traditional native territories vulnerable to disruptive and polluting projects?
  • rubber-stamping expansion of the tar sands which has, for years, been sickening the people of the Fort Chipewyan First Nation, downstream with rare cancers and other diseases? 
  • cheerleading massive pipeline projects that cross pristine wilderness and fragile marine ecosystems on the doorstep of First Nations settlements?
  • allowing "fracking" projects on traditional native territories and elsewhere (you know, the kinds that poison groundwater, turn tap water into something flammable and even trigger earthquakes)? 
  • and allowing Members of Parliament like Rob Anders (see comment, below) to remain in his government? 
If my questions sound rhetorical, it's because they are.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Arctic Sea Ice Increases Dramatically.

The Independent
The bad news is: it's still half the level is was in the 1980s.  Details  here.

Canada's Gabriel Resources Gold Plans Suffer Setback in Romanian Parliament

The Independent

A parliamentary vote in Romania has rejected revisions to a new mining law that would have allowed Gabriel Resources, a Canadian mining company, to create Europe’s largest open cast gold mine in a Transylvanian village. Full story here.

Good news! You created a lot of buzz...

Sierra Club Canada
   
 

Dear Larry,

Thank you for being part of our campaign to help save the bees! I didn’t need to tell you how important the bees and other pollinators were to our ecosystem and food supply--you understood the situation was dire, took action and made a difference.
So here are the numbers: Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) comment period on neonicotinoid pesticides closed this past Thursday, December 12th having received 10,241 comments from YOU (via the Sierra Club Canada website). Pat yourself on the back – you deserve it.
Obviously we cannot rest on our laurels as there’s much more to be done, but it’s important to take a moment and be proud of our accomplishments to date.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Another Canadian Mining Company "Does its Dirties" to a Sovereign Country - Shame!!!


Dec 11 at 3:08 PM
Infinito Gold is threatening a $1 billion lawsuit against Costa Rica for rejecting a toxic, open-pit gold mine after massive protests from local citizens.
Tell Infinito Gold to drop its lawsuit against Costa Rica.
Sign the Petition
Dear Larry,
Infinito Gold, a Canadian mining company, just slapped Costa Rica with a $1 billion lawsuit because the nation decided to protect its rainforests rather than host an open-pit gold mine.
Costa Rica’s rainforest is lauded as one of the most beautiful in the world, and is home to many endangered species, including the green macaw. Officials considered approving the gold mine, but the use of toxic chemicals such as cyanide -- which often leaks into and pollutes nearby lakes and rivers -- was far too great a risk to allow the project to move forward.
A subsidiary of Infinito Gold has announced that a massive lawsuit against Costa Rica is “imminent”, so we need to act now. If thousands of us stand together against this toxic mine, we can show Infinito that Costa Rica and other countries that are defending their natural resources will not be silently bullied by corporate power. 

NAFTA Environmental Body Asks Ottawa to Respond to Oilsands Waste Concerns

The Canadian Press 


A North American trade body has asked Ottawa to respond to allegations that it has failed to enforce its own laws when it comes to oilsands waste known as tailings. Full story here.

Exploration Company to Lose Drilling (Fracking) Licence Near Newfoundland's Gros Morne Park

InfoTel Multimedia

An oil exploration company says it will lose its licence next month to drill wells near Gros Morne National Park in western Newfoundland. Details here.

Ottawa to Designate Crude Oil as Highly Dangerous

The Globe and Mail
The federal government will, for the first time, designate crude oil a highly dangerous substance and introduce tougher safety and testing measures for shipping oil by rail. Details here.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Food and Drug Administration in the US Moves To Phase Out Widespread Use Of Antibiotics In Meat

Huffington Post

Citing a potential threat to public health, the Food and Drug Administration moved Wednesday toward phasing out the use of some antibiotics in animals processed for meat. Details here.

PigsKichiroSato/AstdPrs.jpg

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Monday, 9 December 2013

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Another Canadian Mining Company Faces Criminal Allegations

OCCRP
A subsidiary of the Canadian mining company, Gabriel Resources, is under investigation in Romania for money laundering and tax evasion. According to The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)Romanian prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC). It holds a license to exploit the largest open-pit gold mine in Europe. The project has been stalled in recent years amid widespread protests throughout eastern Europe, mainly from people concerned about its environmental impact.


These photos show the kind of environmental mess created by mining which has gone on in the area since the time of the Romans. (l.) An old mine machine crumbles into dust. (r.) Acid rock leakage seeps from a drainage pipe. Gabriel says it will clean things up because it is committed to "responsible mining and sustainable development."  (Photos by Gabriel Resources.)

The proposed mine is no stranger to controversy. Thousands of Romanians have been protesting in recent months against what they believe is an environmentally risky project, possibly plagued by political corruption, as well. Mine officials have said little publicly, except to claim they are not the direct targets of the investigation.

RMGC has also strongly denied accusations against it in Romania that it falsified certain maps of the area. It has launched a defamation suit to counter the accusations but does not elaborate on them further.

The parent company, Gabriel Resources, is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It owns over 80% of RMGC, the rest by the State of Romania. Gabriel believes it can still extract more than US$24 billion dollars worth of precious metal at the ancient mine site in an environmentally responsible way, creating thousands of jobs at the same time.

(OCCRP is an investigative reporting agency designed to help residents of Eastern Europe and Central Asia "better understand how organized crime and corruption affect their lives.")

(My e-mail to Gabriel Resources, requesting further comment and clarification, has gone unanswered.) l.p.

Related: "Gabriel Resources Gold Plans Suffer Setback, as Romanian Parliament Rejects Mining Law"

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Harperites Approve Yet Another Tarsands Mine, Thumbing Their Noses at Mother Earth and First Nations People.

The Canadian Press 

Shell Canada's Jackpine oilsands mine expansion plan has received the go-ahead from Ottawa, despite the environment minister's view that it's "likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects." Details here.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

A New Study Hints at Further Trouble Ahead for Earth's Embattled Forests

by Larry Powell

Trees around the world, including places like Canada's boreal forest, are dying from drought induced by our changing climate - and have been for years. This has been recognized in peer-reviewed studies, including one by a team of experts at the University of Quebec, published in the respected journal, NatureClimateChange, two years ago.
The Canadian Rockies. PLT photo
But a more recent study, this one reported in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research suggests further trouble ahead, this time in another eco-system. This time, a team of US researchers analyzed the relationship between growth and climate on the six most abundant subalpine tree species (growing on the higher slopes) in California's Sierra Madre mountains - and how that relationship evolved for well over a century. 

In an e-mail to PLT, one of the researchers, Christopher Dolanc of the University of California, Davis, states, "Increasing drought-stress may eventually stunt their growth. Two of these species, mountain hemlock (l.) and western white pine, are common in mountains in Canada."


The study concludes, "Although predictions of future precipitation trends are uncertain, drought stress appears to already be increasing. If this trend continues, radial growth is likely to be inhibited for most or all species in our study. Trees growing where snowpack is deep may be least likely to suffer reduced growth."

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Farm Groups on the Canadian Prairies Want Ottawa to Penalize Railways for Grain Shipment Backlog

Winnipeg Free Press

Prairie farm groups frustrated by delays in shipping grain this fall want the federal government to do more to penalize rail companies that don't deliver crops in a timely way. Details here.

Surplus grain stored on 
Manitoba field. PLT stock photo.